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FC Buzz Weekend in Newtown: Discover Exoplanets - The Search for Alien Worlds!

<p><strong>FC Buzz Weekend March 1 - March 3 2024</strong></p><p>HamletHub is proud to partner with the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and FCBuzz to Elevate Arts and Culture in Fairfield County! Each week, look for a listing of weekend events and activities. The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of the arts and culture across 15 towns in coastal Fairfield County. Sign up to receive a free eBuzz newsletter with top picks and spotlight events from the hundreds of events posted on FCBuzz.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/aldrich-after-hours-4/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Aldrich After Hours</strong></a></p><p><strong>The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield</strong></p><p>Friday Mar 01, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm</p><p>Kick off the weekend with Aldrich After Hours and enjoy drinks and special programming in the Museum’s galleries. Chief Curator Amy Smith-Stewart will give a highlights tour on Loie Hollowell’s exhibition, Space Between, A Survey of Ten Years, which has been featured by W Magazine, Artnet, and Interview Magazine, among others. Enjoy a musical performance by Xondra, whose “rich vocals and layered melodies create an immersive experience that resonates with authenticity.” Explore the exhibitions on view including Amanda Martínez, Yvette Mayorga, Chiffon Thomas, and Loie Hollowell.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/mark-fraser-betts-a-table-next-to-the-mountain-art-opening/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Mark Fraser-Betts: A Table Next To The Mountain Art Opening</strong></a></p><p><strong>Art in Common Gallery, Ridgefield</strong></p><p>Friday Mar 01, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm</p><p>Art lovers won’t want to miss the opening reception of Mark Fraser-Betts’ show, A Table Next to the Mountain. Mark paints collages that examine themes of time, distance and meditations of an outsider living in America.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/connecticut-guitar-festival-opening-night-concert/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Connecticut Guitar Festival | Opening Night Concert</strong></a></p><p><strong>MoCA Westport</strong></p><p>Friday Mar 01, 7:00 pm - 12:00 am</p><p>A feat of styles and artists kick off the 2024 festival with performers: Daniel Lippel, Dani Sehu, Quarantined Quartet, David Steinhardt at MoCA Series, featuring a diverse range of Jazz, Classical, and Pop performances!</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/nasa-comes-to-newtown-ct-march-2024-discover-exoplanets-the-search-for-alien-worlds/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds</strong></a></p><p><strong>C.H. Booth Library, Newtown</strong></p><p>Friday From Mar 01 to May 31, 9:30 pm - 8:00 pm</p><p>The C.H. Booth Library, in partnership with the Space Science Institute, is one of only ten libraries in the country selected to receive the NASA 700 sq ft traveling exhibition Discover Exoplanets: The Search for Alien Worlds. The pre-exhibit ephemera is already on display. During the exhibit you will see Webb Space Telescope Images, Astrophotography, Cosmological Artwork, over 20 Interactive Hands-on Displays where visitors can build their own solar systems, see the most recent NASA discoveries with monthly NASA Speakers, and daily space related programs.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/every-picture-tells-a-story-exhibit-and-opening-reception-at-silvermine-galleries/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Every Picture Tells A Story Exhibit</strong></a></p><p><strong>Silvermine Galleries, New Canaan</strong></p><p>Saturday Mar 2, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm</p><p>This exhibition invites viewers to explore the power of visual storytelling. Each work on display has an accompanying statement from the artist, proviing context and insights into understanding the artist’s intentions and the underlying narratives. The exhibit will be on view from February 28 - April 4, 2024.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/take-flight-with-bessie-coleman-family-fun-performance/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Take Flight With Bessie Coleman</strong></a></p><p><strong>Weston History &amp; Culture Center ( Weston Historical Society)</strong></p><p>Saturday Mar 02, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm</p><p>Take flight with Bessie Coleman, America’s first African-American female aviator during this educational and entertaining performance for the entire family! Celebrate Black History Month and Women’s History Month with your family! Historian and storyteller Tammy Denease will take audiences on a journey as she portrays Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to ever become an internationally licensed pilot. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Weston Library, LWVofWeston and WHCC.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/ridgefield-symphony-orchestra-string-quartet/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>RSO String Quartet</strong></a></p><p><strong>Ridgefield Theater Barn</strong></p><p>Saturday Mar 02, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm</p><p>Chamber music concert featuring the principal string players of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. Program includes a mix of traditional and contemporary classical music. The concert will take place in the main theater at the newly renovated Ridgefield Theater Barn. An engaging program on music in a marvelous, intimate venue!</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/eccbs-5th-anniversary-season-gala/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>ECCB’s 5th Anniversary Season GALA</strong></a></p><p><strong>MoCA Westport</strong></p><p>Saturday Mar 02, 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm</p><p>Come celebrate five years of this innovative company that continues to bring high caliber dance to and revitalize the dance world in Connecticut. This delightful and joyous evening will include hors d'oeuvres, drinks, a signature ECCB performance, auction event and live music.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/gctyo-winter-concerts/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>GCTYO Winter Concerts</strong></a></p><p><strong>The Klein Auditorium, Bridgeport</strong></p><p>Sunday Mar 03, 12:00 am - 9:00 pm</p><p>Principal Orchestra Concert 3 will feature acclaimed artist Nuné Melik as soloist on the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, plus “Fenix,” composed by GCTYO’s own Polina Nazaykinskaya, with multimedia! Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Ms. Nazaykinskaya on Concert 2, brings world-renowned pianist Olga Kirpicheva-Villard to the stage to perform the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, accompanied by the orchestra. Hear big band jazz on Concert 2 as well. Concert 1 features GCTYO’s unique advanced Saxophone Orchestra under the baton of Jim Clark, as well as Virtuosi Orchestra conducted by Britney Alcine.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/wisdom-after-hours-subtle-activism/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Wisdom After Hours: Subtle Activism</strong></a></p><p><strong>The Meetinghouse, Ridgebury</strong></p><p>Sunday Mar 03, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm</p><p>We live in a culture of isolation and individualism that can leave us feeling hopeless in the face of the systemic changes needed for the well-being of people and the planet. Systemic change calls for working across three levels of change: Personal Transformation, Alternatives, leading to Changing of Dominant Systems. Subtle activism invites us to work across all three levels through an awakened consciousness to social change, understanding that context informs where we begin.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/opening-reception-for-residency-showcase-exhibition/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Opening Reception for Residency Showcase Exhibition</strong></a></p><p><strong>Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk</strong></p><p>Sunday Mar 03, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm</p><p>This exhibition represents the forefront of contemporary printmaking from emerging to established artists. This reception is especially exciting because it is also a celebration of our inaugural residency exchange with Dresden, Germany. We are honored to welcome the Chairman of Culture and Tourism from the Elbe/Labe Euroregion at the opening reception!</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/camerata-damici-winter-concert/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Camerata d’Amici Winter Concert</strong></a></p><p><strong>St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Ridgefield</strong></p><p>Sunday Mar 03, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm</p><p>Choral group Camerata d’Amici will perform its winter concert “Music in the Air”. Conducted by artistic director Kristin Sponheim, the program will feature compositions that convey the power of music to express our hopes and fears.</p><p><a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/event/hot-cool-jazz-judy-carmichael-swinging-standards-sultry-vocals-sassy-humor/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>Hot &amp; Cool Jazz: Judy Carmichael – Swinging Standards, Sultry Vocals &amp; Sassy Humor</strong></a></p><p><strong>Wilton Library</strong></p><p>Sunday Mar 03, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm</p><p>Get ready for an afternoon of jazz as pianist/vocalist Judy Carmichael and guitarist Chris Flory swing through favorites of the American songbook, from Gershwin and Cole Porter to Frank Loesser and Harold Arlen. Nicknamed “Stride” by the great Count Basie, the Grammy-nominated pianist, vocalist, and songwriter enchants audiences with her command of the idiom at the piano, as well as her charming effervescence away from it. Newsday said she's like “Peggy Lee meets Fats Waller meets Paula Poundstone.” Judy Carmichael is a Grammy-nominated pianist/vocalist and songwriter. Her radio show/podcast "Jazz Inspired," is in its 24th year on NPR stations. Advance registration recommended.</p><p>See these and discover hundreds more events on the&nbsp;<a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/fcbuzz-events/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">FCBUZZ EVENTS</a>&nbsp;page at&nbsp;<a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://culturalalliancefc.org</a>&nbsp;Sign up for the&nbsp;<a href="https://culturalalliancefc.org/resources/newsletter-sign-up/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Cultural Alliance eBuzz</a>&nbsp;to receive top picks and spotlights each week in your inbox.</p>

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Newtown resident Kristin Connors nominated to serve as judge CT Superior Court

<p>Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is nominating 22 jurists to serve as judges of the Connecticut Superior Court and one jurist to serve as a family support magistrate. There are currently 35 vacancies on the Superior Court.</p><p>“One of the most notable honors of my responsibilities as governor is to fill vacancies in our court system with capable jurists whose qualifications meet the high standards that the people of Connecticut deserve on the bench,”&nbsp;Governor Lamont said. “This group of nominees I am forwarding to the legislature today continues this administration’s effort to ensure that the people who are serving as judges in our state reflect the diversity, experience, and understanding of the people who live here.”</p><p>The Superior Court nominees include:</p><p><strong>Nicole Anker, 51, of Glastonbury</strong>: Anker graduated from Yale College and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.&nbsp;She is currently the legal director for the Connecticut Department of Correction, where she has practiced law for the last seventeen years and focuses on constitutional and employment law. Prior to entering state service, she was a litigation and employment law associate at two large multinational law firms, including Bingham McCutchen, LLP, and Brown, Raysman, Millstein, Felder and Steiner, LLP.</p><p><strong>Tamar R. Birckhead, 58, of Hartford</strong>: Birckhead graduated from Yale University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University. She is currently a solo practitioner at Birckhead Law LLC, where she primarily works as appointed counsel representing indigent individuals in criminal and juvenile courts. Prior to entering private practice, she taught law and served as the director of clinical programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. She began her legal career as a public defender at the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Massachusetts and then as an assistant federal defender for the Office of the Federal Defender for the District of Massachusetts. She has practiced law for 32 years.</p><p><strong>Corrine A. Boni-Vendola, 58, of Wallingford</strong>: Boni-Vendola graduated from Boston University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the Massachusetts School of Law School. She is currently a partner at Charles and Boni-Vendola, LLC, which she co-founded in 2000. She primarily focuses on family and matrimonial law.</p><p><strong>Kristin A. Connors, 57, of Newtown</strong>: Connors graduated from Villanova University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.&nbsp;She is currently a named partner at Stockman O’Connor Connors PLLC. Previously she was a partner and head of the healthcare law group at Carmody Torrance Sandak and Hennessey LLP. Her practice concentration for over thirty years has been complex civil litigation, primarily medical malpractice and product liability actions.</p><p><strong>Steven R. Dembo, 58, of Bloomfield</strong>: Dembo graduated from State University of New York at Binghamton and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Western New England College School of Law. Dembo is a partner with Berman Mickelson Dembo and Jacobs, LLC, where he has served as a trial and appellate lawyer practicing in the areas of family law, juvenile, administrative, general litigation, and mediation. Previously, he was a litigation attorney for the City of Waterbury and in private practice at Budlong Becker and Murrett.</p><p><strong>Cody N. Guarnieri, 37, of South Windsor</strong>: Guarnieri graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.&nbsp;He is currently a senior partner and trial attorney at the law firm of Brown, Paindiris and Scott, LLP. His law practice focuses on all aspects of litigation, including representing criminal defendants in Connecticut state and federal courts, representing plaintiffs in civil personal injury and small business litigation, and defending professional license holders before the various departments and boards of the State of Connecticut.</p><p><strong>Christine Jean-Louis, 42, of Wallingford</strong>: Jean-Louis graduated from New York University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is currently the general counsel for the Office of Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and previously worked as an assistant attorney general within the Office of the Attorney General’s Infrastructure and Economic Development (Transportation) section. Prior to that, she was an associate at Wiggin and Dana, where she litigated in the areas of antitrust, franchise, contract, and commercial litigation, while also serving as a federal criminal defense lawyer under the Criminal Justice Act. She also served as a law clerk at the Connecticut Appellate Court for Justice Lubbie Harper, and at the United States District Court for Judge Alvin Thompson.</p><p><strong>Devant J. Joiner, 54, of Middletown</strong>: Joiner graduated from Saint John’s University and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is currently serving as a senior assistant state’s attorney in the New Britain Superior Court. Before transferring to New Britain, he worked in the New Haven Superior Court. He has spent his 17 years as an attorney working for the Division of Criminal Justice in the G.A. courts. During his time with the Division of Criminal Justice, he has worked with both federal, state, and local departments on serious weapon and narcotics matters. He has also spoken to middle school and high school students and community groups on behalf of the Division of Criminal Justice. He was also honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps.</p><p><strong>Cristina M. Lopez, 46, of Wethersfield</strong>: Lopez graduated from Middlebury College and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. She is senior counsel in business law at The Hartford, where she provides legal advice to various business units. In her prior role as senior counsel in coverage litigation, she managed complex environmental and construction cases and provided legal advice to the claims organization. Prior to joining The Hartford, she worked in private practice, primarily representing policyholders in insurance coverage litigation and plaintiffs in personal injury actions. Lopez has been practicing law for more than 20 years.</p><p><strong>Sara Nadim, 40, Unionville</strong>: Nadim graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is currently an assistant attorney general in the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office. She serves in the antitrust division representing the state in multistate investigations into national companies for anticompetitive conduct. Previously, she focused on the state’s vast opioid litigation against the pharmaceutical industry. She also served in the office’s child protection section representing the state in both the Appellate and Supreme Court. She was formerly an assistant public defender where she represented hundreds of indigent clients in serious criminal matters.</p><p><strong>Matthew Necci, 42, Glastonbury</strong>: Necci graduated from the University of Connecticut and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School. He currently is of counsel at the Montstream Law Group, and previously was a partner at Halloran and Sage, where he chaired the firm’s Workers’ Compensation practice group. He currently serves as chairman of the board of directors for Special Olympics Connecticut.</p><p><strong>Susan E. Nugent, 62, Hamden</strong>: Nugent graduated from Fordham University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from The Catholic University of America. She is a partner at Murphy and Nugent in New Haven. She also serves as the assistant clerk of the Connecticut Senate. She has practiced law for more than 30 years with a primary focus in the areas of matrimonial and family law.</p><p><strong>John Regan, 62, of Old Greenwich</strong>: Regan graduated from Siena College and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is currently a solo practitioner at the Law Office of John Regan, representing a diverse clientele in litigation in civil, criminal, housing, and juvenile matters, including numerous assignments as a special public defender, special needs children and veterans. He is also chairman of the St. John Urban Development Corporation, which provides affordable housing in Stamford.</p><p><strong>Maria C. Rodriguez, 59, of West Hartford</strong>: Rodriguez graduated from Trinity College and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Boston College. She is currently an assistant attorney general in the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office. She serves in the Employment/Workers’ Compensation/Labor Section and has practiced employment and labor law in this position for the last 32 years.</p><p><strong>Adam R. Schibley, 38, of Windsor</strong>: Schibley graduated from Saint Anselm College and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is currently employed as a permanent law clerk at the Connecticut Supreme Court. Over the last fifteen years, he has also served as the assistant reporter of judicial decisions assigned to the chambers of Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson and as a law clerk to the Complex Litigation Docket of the Superior Court, the Honorable Barry R. Schaller at the Appellate Court, and the Honorable Maria Araújo Kahn on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.</p><p><strong>Pedro E. Segarra, 64, of Hartford</strong>: Segarra graduated from the University of Hartford and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is currently an administrative law judge at the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission. He served as Hartford City Council member and council president, and previously worked as Hartford corporation counsel and as a deputy assistant state’s attorney. He was formerly an attorney in the general practice of law where he provided services in the areas of criminal defense, civil, real estate, family and administrative law. Prior to his present job, he served as the mayor for the City of Hartford.</p><p><strong>Eric P. Smith, 53, of Litchfield</strong>: Smith graduated from University of New Haven and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. He is currently a partner and trial lawyer at Faxon Law Group, where he represents catastrophic injury victims and their families in tort claims with a focus on medical malpractice. Prior to this, he was a partner at Lynch, Traub, Keefe and Errante, where he litigated a wide array of civil disputes in both state and federal trial and appellate courts, and an adjunct professor of legal studies at Norwalk Community College. He currently serves as a director on the board of New Haven Legal Assistance Association. He has been practicing law for more than 28 years.</p><p><strong>Alayna M. Stone, 41, of New Haven</strong>: Stone graduated from Yale University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and master’s degree from the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy. She currently serves as associate attorney general and chief of the Division of Civil Litigation at the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, overseeing the functions of the office’s Employment, Workers’ Compensation and Labor, Health and Education, Public Safety and General Litigation sections. Prior to her appointment, she served as an assistant attorney general for eight years in the Special Litigation section at the Attorney General’s Office, where she represented all branches of state government. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, she clerked for two years at the Connecticut Superior Court, one year at the Connecticut Appellate Court for now-Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson, and one year at the Connecticut Supreme Court for former Associate Justice Carmen E. Espinosa.</p><p><strong>Melissa L. Streeto, 51, of Wethersfield</strong>: Streeto graduated from Holy Cross College and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University Law School. She is currently a senior assistant state’s attorney in the State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. She is employed in the Appellate Bureau, where she has been handling criminal appeals for nearly 23 years. Streeto also currently serves as president of the Connecticut Association of Prosecutors.</p><p><strong>Nicole J. Tung, 54, of Cheshire</strong>: Tung graduated from State University of New York at Stony Brook and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is currently a partner at Halloran Sage. She has been engaged in the practice of civil litigation for 30 years, primarily handling general liability and insurance defense matters, and conducting private mediations and arbitrations. Prior to joining her current firm, she was a senior trial attorney for national insurance companies. She is currently an officer of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the New Haven County Bar Association. She also serves on the Board for Friends of Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.</p><p><strong>Matthew T. Wax-Krell, 44, of West Hartford</strong>: Wax-Krell graduated from Emory University and obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is currently a partner at Rogin Nassau LLC, focusing on business litigation. In addition, he serves on the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, the board of directors for Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and the board of directors for the West Hartford Little League.</p><p><strong>Colleen Zingaro, 57, of Newtown</strong>: Zingaro graduated from Manhattan College and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. She currently serves as the supervisor of the Violent Crime Unit of the Bridgeport Judicial District. She previously worked as a prosecutor in the Danbury Judicial District and Stamford Judicial District.</p><p>The family support magistrate nominee is:</p><p><strong>Jessica W. Simpson, 37, of Windsor</strong>: Simpson graduated from Hampton University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Western New England University. She currently works as an assistant attorney general with the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. She serves in the Child Support and Collections Section.</p><p>The Office of the Governor is forwarding the names of these nominees to the General Assembly for its advice and consent.</p><p>*Image of Kristin Conners courtesy LinkedIn.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br></p>

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People and Pets Invited to Hop to Danbury Fair Mall to Meet The Easter Bunny!

<p><a href="https://email.macerich.com/c/AQjzlA8Q5ow_GKrg_JEBIO_r7BDqWbrGf0xw2AGQIGdXl5cmrarV9aYIGhmgVQMKHqjLVA" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">EGG-CITING NEWS</a>! Hop on over to Danbury Fair because the Easter Bunny is back! Visit the Bunny in H&amp;M Court through Saturday, March 30!</p><p><strong>The Bunny's Schedule:</strong></p><p><strong>March 1 – March 17:</strong></p><p><strong>Monday-Friday:</strong>&nbsp;2PM - 7PM</p><p><strong>Saturday:</strong>&nbsp;11AM - 7PM</p><p><strong>Sunday:</strong>&nbsp;12PM - 6PM</p><p><strong>March 18 - March 30:</strong></p><p><strong>Monday-Saturday:&nbsp;</strong>11AM - 7PM</p><p><strong>Sunday:&nbsp;</strong>12PM - 6PM</p><p><strong>Special Experiences:</strong></p><p>Pet Nights March 11 &amp; 18 from 4pm to 8pm</p><p>Bunny Cares March 17 at 10:30am</p><p><em>Don't miss our Pet Night on Mondays, March 11 and 18 and our sensory-friendly Bunny Cares event on Sunday, March 17. </em></p><p>Pre-book your visit to ensure the most seamless experience by clicking the button below.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://email.macerich.com/c/AQjzlA8Q5ow_GKrg_JEBIO_r7BDqWbrGf0xw2AGQIGdXl5cmrarV9aYIGhmgVQMKHqjLVA" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>PRE-BOOK HERE</strong></a></p><p><br></p>

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Take heed Newtown runners! Brookfield Running Company opens on March 5!

<p><strong>Brookfield Running Company Opens March 5th</strong></p><p><strong>Owner Megan Searfoss says, "</strong>The last time Leap Year happened was in 2020, and we opened Darien Running Company.&nbsp;This Leap Year, we are opening up&nbsp;<strong><em>BROOKFIELD RUNNING COMPANY!"</em></strong></p><p>When Chris Dickerson, founder of Woodbridge Running Company, approached Megan Searfoss, owner of Ridgefield Running (RRC) and Darien Running, about acquiring his Brookfield location, it was a perfect match. Ridgefield Running Company is ready for growth, and the Brookfield location extends RRC into the north part of Fairfield County. Dickerson will continue to run Woodbridge Running Company in Woodbridge, CT.</p><p>“It’s a synergistic merger,” says Searfoss. “We are fortunate to retain Woodbridge Running Company’s staff and look forward to moving to a new location in the Four Corners area in June. Brookfield Running Company will be delivering the same fit experience as Ridgefield Running and Darien Running.”</p><p>Brookfield Running Company will open next week in Woodbridge Running Company’s location at 632 Federal Rd. in Brookfield.Ridgefield Running Company, LLC owns Ridgefield Running Company, Darien Running Company, and the new Brookfield Running Company. Recognized as Best Running Store in America in 2022, RRC is committed to moving people forward and building community one step at a time. Learn more&nbsp;<a href="https://ridgefieldrunning.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://ridgefieldrunning.com/</a></p>

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Immaculate High School hosts Character Breakfast on April 6!

<p><strong>Immaculate High School in Danbury is hosting a Character Breakfast on Saturday, April 6th at Immaculate, 73 Southern Blvd.</strong></p><p>In addition to breakfast, this event will include a sneak peek at the school's performance of Disney's The Little Mermaid, taking place at the end of April at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown.</p><p>Cast members will be in costume, spending time mingling and entertaining families with performances of a few musical numbers.&nbsp;</p><p>Tickets for the character breakfast can be purchased at&nbsp;<a href="https://bit.ly/42N3evG?fbclid=IwAR0UTZJso2TBRQ4aq-ztZdlvdpIAY2LNGVV9m4ragq7Aw4WZEbfVON2y0ec" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://bit.ly/42N3evG</a>&nbsp;</p><p>Please visit&nbsp;<a href="https://www.immaculatehs.org/fine-arts/spring-musical/thelittlemermaid" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Little Mermaid - Immaculate High School</a>&nbsp;to purchase tickets for the full-length performance taking place April 26th and 27th, at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown.</p>

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Run Like A Mother 5K in Ridgefield on Mother's Day! Registration is OPEN!

<p><em>Empower. Inspire. Enable. Run Like A Mother® Isn’t Just a Race, It’s Our Way of Life.</em></p><p>National organization Run Like A Mother® announces its 2024 5K race in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Participants will run the memorable race on Sunday, May 12th.</p><p><strong>Register </strong><a href="https://runsignup.com/Race/CT/Ridgefield/RunLikeaMotherRidgefield" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"><strong>HERE</strong></a><strong>.</strong></p><p> The point-to-point looped course starts at The Ridgefield Playhouse and finishes in the heart of town, Ballard Park. Runners, along with their family and friends, will enjoy a post-race party.</p><p>Run Like A Mother Ridgefield is proud to support the Noreen L Papa: Mothers Live Your Life Fund at the Ridgefield Library, which helps provide programming and other Library resources to encourage health and wellness.</p><p>Race participants will have several unique opportunities to support this important community charity. Runners can make a donation when they register for the race, or they can choose to donate during the registration process, which automatically enters them to win items and experiences provided by partners of Run Like a Mother.</p><p>A celebration of women, Run Like A Mother was founded in 2008 by Ridgefield, CT resident, owner of Ridgefield and Darien Running Companies, and author of <em>See Mom Run- Every Mother’s Guide to Getting Fit and Running Her First 5k</em>, Megan Searfoss. Since its start, Run Like A Mother has encouraged more than 25,000 women in all stages of motherhood (novice, new, and experienced) across the country to make running a part of their life.</p><p>“Run Like A Mother encourages women to step out the door and move,” said Searfoss. “The race gives women an opportunity to run a race with their family cheering them on from the start to the finish and post-race celebration.”</p><p>Registration is currently open for the race. Additional information on the race, charity partner, and post-race party can be found at <a href="https://chat.openai.com/c/www.runlikeamother.com" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">www.runlikeamother.com</a>. </p>

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Austin Scelzo’s love of music and community leads to Connecticut Arts Hero!

<p>Since his freshman year at Sheehan High School in Wallingford, Austin Scelzo knew he wanted to be a musician and music teacher. To advance those goals, he participated in every possible club, group, ensemble and opportunity to collaborate in the creation of music. In the 11 years since he graduated from Sheehan, Scelzo not only has lived his dream of performing and teaching, he also has accrued a number of <a href="https://www.austinscelzo.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">awards and accolades</a> – the most recent of which was being named a <a href="https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Arts-and-Culture/Awards_Recognition/Arts-Hero-Award/Meet-the-Class-of-2023" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">2023 Connecticut Arts Hero</a>.</p><p>The path to Scelzo’s selection as a Connecticut Arts Hero that started at Sheehan High School wound its way through <a href="https://www.wcsu.edu" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Western Connecticut State University’s</a> <a href="https://www.wcsu.edu/music/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Music Education</a> program. </p><p>“Many of my high school music teachers were WCSU music graduates,” Scelzo said. “I also knew the university was completing the new <a href="https://www.wcsu.edu/music/facilities/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Visual and Performing Arts Center</a>, and it was promised that it would be ready for my sophomore year there. Plus, all of my family is in Connecticut, and I really wanted to stay in that Connecticut ecosystem for college.”</p><p>Scelzo auditioned at several universities that offered a Music Education degree, but his audition experience at WCSU confirmed his choice. “While the audition experience was similar in many of the schools, what I remember about my day at WestConn was that it felt like a community. Everyone was warm and inviting and I was made to feel welcome.”</p><p>That strong belief in community is, in part, what led to Scelzo’s Connecticut Arts Hero award in January.</p><p>Enrolled at WCSU as a <a href="https://www.wcsu.edu/music/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Music Education</a> major studying classical violin with operatic vocal classes on the side, Scelzo found himself intrigued by the local bluegrass, folk and fiddle music scene. “I started fiddle playing and spent my summers camping at music festivals where I fell in love with that music and that community,” he recalled. Scelzo joined two bluegrass bands. One was <a href="https://www.onthetrailbluegrass.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">On the Trail</a>, an Americana acoustic quartet that features three WestConn Music Department alumni: Matt Curley, Tom Polizzi and Charlie Widmer. And, he was invited to join a traditional bluegrass band out of Rhode Island, the <a href="https://rockheartsbluegrass.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Rock Hearts</a>, that performs at the International Bluegrass Convention, now has three albums out, and can be found on XM Radio.</p><p>When Scelzo graduated from WCSU in 2017, he said he was “plugged into all the right job opportunities and interviews,” thanks to the connections he’d gained on campus. He was offered the job of orchestra teacher at Darien Middle School – his dream job. For four years, he juggled performing with On the Trail and the Rock Hearts, being in the studio recording until 2 a.m. and then getting up to commute from Danbury to teach in Darien. It was difficult to maintain, he admits.</p><p>He found a mentor in jazz violinist <a href="https://christianhowes.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Christian Howes</a>, and when Scelzo told Howes he was considering pursuing a master’s degree in music in Nashville, Howes advised him that if he studied there, he should stay there. Scelzo wanted to stay settled in Connecticut to be near his family and music community, so he passed on grad school. Then the pandemic hit, and school went virtual. Scelzo began recording music lessons for his middle school students and Howes suggested he post them on YouTube for anyone to see. Scelzo soon noticed that it wasn’t just his young students who were accessing his instructional videos, it was people who wanted to learn more about music technique. More than 70,000 of them, to be exact.</p><p>While performing with the bands and teaching at Darien Middle School, Scelzo also taught a six-week bluegrass jamming class on weekends. Most of the students were adults, and he started a weekly bluegrass jam near Danbury – the only one in this part of the state. He thought, “What if I combined my love of bluegrass performance with my desire to teach?” With an already established online presence thanks to YouTube, Scelzo decided to “try something else that’s more compatible with this community that I love.”</p><p>So, with an entrepreneurial spirit, Scelzo found a way to merge performing and teaching bluegrass music with technology, and founded the <a href="https://ctbluegrass.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Connecticut Bluegrass Association</a>. His goal was to create connections between people to grow the bluegrass scene in Connecticut. He enhanced his web presence, <a href="https://www.austinscelzo.com/education" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">AustinScelzo.com</a>, and launched <a href="https://www.austinscelzo.com/bluegrass" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Bluegrass, Country and Roots School</a>, which offers video instruction in bluegrass, country and roots; sheet music; video; harmony; bluegrass guitar; mandolin and fiddle tips and inspiration; music fundamentals; multi-style string workshops; creative strings school; camp and festival classes and a youth club. Between these endeavors, hosting or teaching at music camps/retreats, and his ongoing live performance schedule, Scelzo made the decision to leave Darien Middle School.</p><p>Looking back, Scelzo said some of the things he learned as a WCSU Music Education student still serve him today. “WestConn’s Music Ed is a cut above,” he said. “I’ve met so many people in the field who didn’t have the same opportunities I had for student-teaching. I benefitted from the variety of classes available to me as a classical music student, such as learning jazz improvisation skills in my classes with Jimmy Greene. A standout for me was Dr. Cory Ganschow, who built community and loved her students.”</p><p>It should come as no surprise that Scelzo was nominated for the Connecticut Arts Hero Award by someone who enjoyed his efforts with the Connecticut Bluegrass Association. “I was buried in the work and focusing on the mission and didn’t even know about the award until I was notified,” Scelzo said. “I’ve been working hard at networking, leading and building connections in the bluegrass community, and it’s gratifying to see that my strengths and passions are </p><p>appreciated and needed in the Northeast,” Scelzo added. “I’m turning 29 soon and want to get people connected enough to move forward the work I’ve started. By the time I’m 30, I want to have created a strong enough foundation so that others can take over the newsletters, promotion and other tasks associated with the Connecticut Bluegrass Association.”</p><p>These days, the bulk of Scelzo’s time is spent teaching online. “Online teaching is superior to explore creativity, take risks and grow in your musicianship,” he explained. “There is much less fear of judgment.” In addition to the freedom it offers his students, it also allows Scelzo the flexibility to be in Nashville recording with Rock Hearts by day and teaching from his hotel room at night. </p><p>Scelzo’s vision of what he wanted to be doing and what his day-to-day life would be like are proving to be true. “So many things are more impactful than ‘I want to be famous’ or ‘I want people to know who I am,’” he said. “I always encouraged my middle schoolers to dream big while they were young. Connect with your community, find support and intentional mentorship, and discover where your greatest passion and talent meet. It will make the big sacrifices worth it when you make your dream come true.”</p><p>For more information, visit <a href="https://www.austinscelzo.com/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">austinscelzo.com</a> or contact WCSU Communications and Marketing at <a href="mailto:pr@wcsu.edu" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">pr@wcsu.edu</a>.&nbsp;</p>

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